People travel and take holidays for many different reasons. “Think about shoes,” says Branda Fan, Founder of Nowy. “We all have different styles and needs, and no one else can tell you if a pair is actually comfortable. Just like that, travel isn’t one-size-fits-all. We might all be heading somewhere on vacation, but our reasons, dreams, and desires are unique. So, why must planning, booking, and taking vacations always be the same?”
Nowy (which means “right now, let’s go”) is a social media travel journal – and so much more. It innovatively integrates AI and offers features such as personalized recommendations, integration of travel services, a social platform for sharing experiences, a journal for documenting your travel inspirations and memorable moments, and support for local experiences and services.
“We want to bring seamless travel experiences that not only help people to book their whole itinerary, plan their whole itinerary, and find inspiration, but also to let travelers document everything on their journey, why they went there, how they planned it, and what makes their trip so uniquely theirs,” shares Branda. “Nowy lets users upload photos, comment, and share stories. We want users to feel like Nowy is their best way to journal your trip, like ‘Wow, this is my journey.’”
The Genesis of Nowy
Branda’s early life was imbued with a sense of adventure and exploration, a gift from her father. She humorously notes: “I started traveling before I was born,” referring to her parents’ journey to a remote northwestern desert where her mother gave birth to her. This wanderlust spirit was fostered by her father, who transformed routine trips into spontaneous adventures. Branda recalls: “My father would pick us up from school, and we’d head straight to the airport – no planned destination. When we got to the ticket counter, he’d ask the employee which was the next flight out, and we’d usually take that one. That’s adventure!” Those experiences became cherished memories. Those ideas became the foundation for Branda’s vision for Nowy.io.
The struggles of planning trips with her two young boys ignited the idea for Nowy. “Travel planning was a nightmare. I wanted to create something to make it easier, more memorable,” she explains.
A Seamless Travel Experience
Nowy isn’t just a travel app; it’s a comprehensive platform integrating AI to offer personalized travel experiences. What sets Nowy apart is its approach to technology and travel. “We’re not just using AI for recommendations. We’re integrating a human touch, allowing travelers to truly experience the world,” Branda emphasizes. Branda’s vision for Nowy is to integrate AI to enhance, rather than replace, the human experience of travel. The app uses AI for recommendations and planning but retains a focus on the human aspect of exploring the world. “There’s no way that AI can replace you to experience the world,” she asserts, emphasizing the balance between technology and personal experience.
“We’re not just using AI for recommendations. We’re integrating a human touch, allowing travelers to truly experience the world.”
Tailoring Travel to Life Stories
She foresees AI’s role in understanding and catering to “people’s different habits, cultural background, preferences, and personalized needs.” This approach aims to move beyond one-size-fits-all solutions, offering travel experiences that are as unique as each individual. The idea is to let AI handle the “lab work” while enabling users to immerse themselves in real-life experiences. This philosophy is central to Nowy’s vision of connecting technology, human experiences, and the vast world of travel.
In creating personalized travel experiences, Branda and her co-founders emphasize the importance of understanding the deeper reasons behind travelers’ choices. This is a guiding principle for Nowy, as it aims to tailor travel recommendations based on superficial preferences and the core reasons and motivations driving those choices. Nowy aims to be more than a travel tool; it’s meant to be a travel companion that understands and caters to the nuanced desires of its users.
Branda and her team’s incredible work has been widely recognized beyond the DMV – as far afield as Portugal. This startup was selected to join an exciting pilot project with Best Travel in Portugal, called the Check In Academy, with the support of Turismo de Portugal and Nova SBE Westmont Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, to transform the travel, hospitality, and tourism sector.
Thriving in Washington DC’s Startup Ecosystem
Washington, D.C., has been more than just a base for Nowy; it’s a source of inspiration and support. “The startup ecosystem here is incredibly diverse and supportive,” Branda shares. Participation in events like DC Startup Week and interactions with a wide range of founders have provided both mental support and practical insights. “It’s a community that celebrates diversity and fosters innovation,” she adds.
A Chronicle of Memories and Dreams
Essentially, Nowy is Branda’s homage to her father’s spirit of exploration and her entrepreneurial journey. It stands as a beacon for travelers seeking more than just destinations it offers memorable, personalized, and deeply human journeys. “I wish everybody can remember their most memorable experiences; Nowy is about capturing those fleeting moments, making memories, and living our dreams,” she concludes.